in·doc·tri·nat·ed, in·doc·tri·nat·ing, in·doc·tri·nates
(1) To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.
(2) To imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view.
The Prophet Muhammad said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.”
(Sahih Muslim, Book 033)
I remember I must have been 4 or 5 years old going to Madressa and being able to read Surah Fatiha perfectly which made the Mu'Alim very happy and my parents very proud. I was able to read all Arabic words and I was content and happy seeing my parents this proud of me. It did not matter that I did not understand what I was reading, I only did it to make my parents happy.
Fast forward 30 odd years and here I am thinking fuck I believed every thing I was told as a kid. I believed in the boogey man under my bed, that till today I sleep with my head covered or with some sort of light entering the room. I was so convinced that there were ghosts etc that I would imagine my bed moving, someone holding me so I cannot breathe. Now I know it is not true and what I experience is called the Placebo Effect.
Why am I writing all of this?
Because from as early as I can remember religion has been drilled into me, if not by my parents sending me to Muslim school and taking me to mosque, then by the teachers that taught me.
Being taught in an Islamic institution is being taught with a whip.
For every false recital there was a beating mostly in the form of falakah (being beaten on the soles of your feet). I remember being beaten with a PVC pipe (the type that electricians use to run wires through) until it broke and blood was pouring from my bottom because I was caught talking to a female.
This is how Islam was drilled into me. This is what I call indoctrination.
Day in and day out you are made to believe that what you are being taught is right and those who do not follow the same are following a set of false doctrines. Yet people who are not 'lucky' enough to be born into Islam are being taught day in and day out that their beliefs are correct and we are following a set of false doctrines.
If you go by the Hadith quoted at the beginning of the post, we are all born Muslim and parents are responsible for giving the kids an alternate religion.
Unfortunately, I can no longer think that that be true, I believe strongly we are born without any religion and our parents, together with our families, educators and communities shape our belief and I refuse to be part of that mould any longer.
No longer am I going to force my child to go to an religious institution so she can be indoctrinated. She will learn that there are many religions out there when she is old enough she can choose whether she will follow her parents faith. She will learn to be a moral citizen.
You are going to get the apologist out there that says, I follow (insert religion) because I want to not because it was the way I was brought up, the way I was brought up has no bearing on the religion I am following now.
Yeah right, the way you were brought up defines every fibre of you and your belief.
Lets say, if you brought up in a different religion, can you honestly say you would be following your current religion? If yes, I applaud you.
The inspiration for this post was something I read on another blog*:
"Islamic apologists say there is no compulsion in Islam. However, if you’re a child born to Muslim parents and in to a strict culture with Islamic ideology, the religion is compulsory for you because your situation demands it. You have no choice but to accept it. It is compulsory because if you refuse it, you become an outcast. You will face resistance from your parents and then from the community. This resistance can even take shape in the form of real physical abuse and threat."
*Quote from Thinking Smurf -A Culturally Inherited Faith
To comment on this article, please reply in this topic: Indoctrination and Islam
There has been something of a controversy in the last few days.
An advertising campaign of billboards at a number of London railway stations, organised by a group called the Quran Project, and offering free Qur'ans in English to commuters, has become a rallying point for activists after some of the posters were taken down.
A commenter on Reddit explains the affair in more detail.
Unless some contractual rules were violated, the decision to remove the posters was utterly egregious.
If it is the case that other religions have advertised on billboards in the same manner, there is no just cause for non-offensive Islamic posters to be removed from these hoardings.
On a wider issue, we wonder if it was complaints from members of the public which may have resulted in the billboards being removed.
As Ex-Muslims, we often find ourselves being censored in a similar manner, and for this reason, and for the principles of freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, we support the decision of the company to re-instate the billboards.
We hope that this affair can help to spark a debate about matters of freedom of expression and religion in the UK, and we hope that finding common ground on these matters can help to advance the cause of Ex-Muslims, when they too find themselves confronted with issues of censorship, and curtailment of their freedom of conscience and expression.
This may, for example, involve a critical engagement with the claims made by the Qur'an Project in regard to the truth claims of Islam. In a secular society, such critical engagement is vital.
We hope that Muslims who campaigned against this unfair decision to remove the Quran Project billboards can join with us in having this debate, and supporting the free expression of ex-Muslims in the future.
Emel Magazine is a lifestyle publication aimed at British Muslims.
It is a glossy and attractive production, which positions itself at the forefront of modern Muslim British identity, suggesting a way for Islam in Britain to exist in a ‘lifestyle’ niche, just one more spiritual path amongst many. It would not look out of place on the magazine stand next to the latest edition of ‘Yoga Monthly’ or any other number of sedate periodicals. The design and appearance of the magazine does not promote a sense of hard religiosity. Overall, the feel of the magazine is positive, promoting Islam in a benign manner, and as such, it seems to be a progressive contribution to Islam in Britain.
Which makes it all the more alarming to see the December 2012 edition of Emel. The magazine has a feature commemorating fifty years of the establishment of the British branch of the UK Islamic Mission, a movement that is effectively a sub-branch of the Jamat-e-Islami. The J-e-I is an Islamist party that originated in colonial India, and became institutionalised in the UK with the immigration of Muslims from Pakistan. It is a highly influential ideological group.
But it is far from progressive. Its instincts are deeply reactionary – startlingly at odds with the kind of liberal, forward thinking version of Islam that Emel seems committed to projecting.
In many ways, this sums up a central tension at the heart of Islam in Britain today. How do you escape the influence of highly reactionary Islamist ideology, and if you cannot escape it, how can you complain about Islam being viewed as inimical to progressive culture when you uncritically promote institutions that advance reactionary Islamism in Britain?
The UKIM describe themselves thus:
Emel features an interview with a gentleman called Zia Ul Haq, who devotes himself to community work with the UK Islamic Mission:
It is truly astonishing that a magazine that seems to position itself as a leading light of progressive Islam in Britain should uncritically promote Sayyid Mawdudi.
Abul A’la Mawdudi is, along with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Syed Qutb and Hassan al-Banna (the grandfather of Tariq Ramadan), the most influential Islamist ideologue of the twentieth century. Many would say his influence exceeds that of all other fathers of modern Islamism.
His ideology was supremacist, intolerant, ultra-reactionary, bigoted, violent, misogynist and as inimical to liberalism, secularism, pluralism and tolerant, progressive values as it is possible to be. Mawdudi’s ideology can only be described as belonging to the extremist far-right of the political spectrum. So why does Emel find a place for his disciples in their pages?
Let us begin with what Mawdudi believed should be done to ex Muslims and apostates from Islam. They should be killed:
In his book ‘Jihad in Islam’ Mawdudi says:
In his book “Let Us Be Muslims”, Mawdudi describes how Muslims cannot co-exist with non-Muslims, and how adultery should be punishable by by stoning to death:
In “Towards Understanding the Quran”, Mawdudi describes what a Muslim’s attitude towards non Muslims should be, as well as what should be done to disobedient women – they should be beaten:
Mawdudi further explains in this book what the attitude towards women should be:
These quotes are genuinely disturbing for anyone who believes in a tolerant, pluralist progressive, liberal society.
That they are taken from the ideological Godfather of the Jamat-e-Islami and UK Islamic Mission is depressing.
That the organisations and activists that promote the world view of this figure are essentially whitewashed and given a platform by a magazine that ostensibly seems to be attuned to the aspiration of the good society is utterly dispiriting.
Emel magazine should be confronting, scrutinising and repudiating the ideology promoted by the UK Islamic Mission for many reasons.